I am a product of the 1960’s and 70’s. At 18 I fought in the Vietnam war. At 21 I embraced the hippie culture and at 22 I was born into the Jesus Revolution. |I cannot talk of one without mention of the others.
Whatever spin one wants to put on each of them, in my opinion the Jesus Revolution (cover story by Time Magazine article June 21, 1971) by far had the greatest impact on my life. The Vietnam war and the Hippie culture are fading memories but Jesus remains embedded in my life forever.
The Vietnam war was a blight on American society, our young being killed everyday at a rapid pace. Young men and women rebelling against their parents society that created a culture of young disaffected youth who ran for the hills, started communes living together off the land with their drugs, sexual liberation and music that encouraged rebellion from a society they did not want to be part of.
From this tornado like atmosphere the Jesus Revolution was born. A spiritual phenomenon that spread worldwide. The young and disenfranchised searching for a better life that was not being fulfilled with anti social causes and drugs. The youth of the day found a solution in Jesus.
Young people having their lives radically changed in an almost supernatural way. It was not a revival. It was a revolution, a complete turnaround from the life they had been living to forge a new way. Young people, many who knew nothing of church, Jesus, God or christianity had their hearts radically changed almost instantly were ready and willing to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth.
Having already left their world behind, denounced materialism, stuck their noses up at a society that they wanted nothing of, they were ripe for the task of going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature. Youth reaching youth with the love of God in the name of Jesus.
Many churches were just not prepared for this Jesus Revolution and didn’t know how to react. We were not accepted, we were the dregs of society, the lowest of the low, not worthy to be called Christian. Many of us were taken in by those who were already fighting against the church’s inability to change. The non denominations took us in. Many went with those who started their own brand of christianity, many I am sure went back to their old lives.
Now forty-five years later I wonder with a nostalgic ping in my heart where have all these bygone revolutionaries ended up. I can only speak for myself and I took a day or so to reflect on this.
It took me off the streets, off of drugs. It changed my thought patterns and way of thinking. Love became my mantra. I met my wife during this period who has become my best friend. In our past worlds we would have never met. The children born to us are by far our greatest assets. I daily thank God how my life turned out as Jesus continues to live in me and balances an often turbulent journey.
Is the world in need of another spiritual revolution and not just continued revivals? Are the youth of this generation dissatisfied enough to want radical change in their lives. Are the youth who have Jesus as their guiding light prepared to reach this lost generation?
I hope so.
Prayer is, at root, simply paying attention to God – Flannery O’Connor
I was going to end with the above quote as an afterthought but decided it should be the in the forefront of what I want to talk about.
Prayer has not been the strongest area of my life. The way I was taught to pray never fully resonated with me. Prayer was something you said in words or waited on God in quiet to speak to you in scripture, more words. Not that there is anything wrong with that but that was all I knew about praying.
I have never been able to grasp the concept of public prayer whether it is me doing the praying or someone else. I know it has its benefits. But for me it never helped in my intimate personal relationship with God. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying there is no place for public prayer or praying using words. I am sure you can remind me of dozens of scripture verses on the subject proving me wrong. That is not what I am trying to convey.
I learned to pray by audibly using words, me talking to God using the language I are familiar with and trying to listen for Gods voice using the means that I was taught and became most comfortable with. Reading. This method became stale over time and it was one that never fully completed my desire of communicating with God.
I have been experiencing a more complete prayer life by using all of the senses that God gave me. Becoming more aware or as Flannery O’Connor stated, “paying attention to God” and I might add by using all of my senses.
Imagine when someone passing you on the street smiles at you. How do you react. Do you smile back or do you put yourself in defensive mode by averting their eyes and ignore the smile. Or could it be God trying to communicate to you by implying, “go ahead, smile back, it will make you feel better and lift your spirits.”
How about the first time holding hands with that boy or girl you really like and getting that tingling feeling that electrifies your whole body and imagine God standing behind you thinking ” Ha, I knew this was a good match”.
The smell of your favorite dish cooking on the stove after a hard day at work, your heart filling with appreciation as you watch your partner scurrying around the kitchen preparing the meal. How did he know I was craving Spaghetti. You can almost see God standing at the stove stirring the pot of sauce and as he looks at you with a cheeky smile not wanting to take all the credit.
Your teenager seemingly going off the rails and your heart is heavy with fear as she runs out of the house slamming the door yelling you’re the worst father in the world. You can envision God following her out the door turning before leaving and giving you a nod as though to say “don’t worry, I got this”.
You laugh uncontrollably at a one liner by a stand up comic and God whispers in your ear, ” You know, I wrote that line for her”.
It would be unforgiving of me to not mention that first sip of coffee in the morning. Savouring the taste and toying with the idea that maybe there will also be coffee in heaven. This time I am reminded of the written word that teaches us to pray, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Just saying.
So your busy day is done. You are exhausted and it is one of those days when everything that could go wrong does go wrong. As you lie in bed staring at the ceiling with your hands behind your head feeling like a flawed human being. You sigh, hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. On cue, God speaks directly to your heart; “I do my best work with flawed.”
Let’s pay attention to God by using all our senses.
Feeling out of place? Not fitting in? Are you watching those around you making strides in ways that make you envious? Are you dissatisfied with your christian life. Envious of your christian brethren who seem grounded and living the perfect christian life? Is there a slight temptation of envy as you watch your friends and colleagues making their way in a society you feel alienated from? Do you have any friends at all? Do you feel you have passed your used by date? Be encouraged. You are not alone. As a matter of fact you are in good company.
As the years have passed me by I have on so many occasions gone through the motions of loving God and my neighbour as commanded in the bible. Although I have tried my best to fit into the contemporary christian lifestyle but there has always been this nagging feeling there is something missing. Not only missing but the undeniable fact that I just wasn’t fitting in.
Time caused me to redefine my relationship with God, Jesus and his church. Over a long period of time I came to conclusion that I could never be part of today’s religious mainstream church. It was not in me. I could never be a part of a society that is not designed for the life that God has given me. This has alienated me for many years,albeit self alienation, until recently I came to the realization (not a revelation or epiphany) that I was not meant to be part of either. I was purposed for something completely different. I was meant to be a misfit. In context or language that best describes what I am, a stranger and pilgrim on this earth.
Now don’t get me wrong. I believe that those that do fit in and are making a place for themselves on this earth, helping their fellow-man, the poor and under-privileged of this world are also exactly where they are meant to be, along with those who have found purpose and usefulness in the church, their religion or their way of life. Even those who are successful in the field of their calling, gifts or talents. There is nothing wrong with that. They are where they are meant to be.
Our calling is different. Yes, calling. God has a different plan for us. But we must come to terms with the fact that if we don’t fit in it is for a reason. The bible calls people like us a “peculiar people”, we are strange and different.
Once I faced the truth about my place in this world and have stopped struggling to fit my square life into the worlds round hole I stopped trying to define my life by societies and religous standards. I have accepted that God in his infinite wisdom has given me the calling of a stranger and a pilgrim as I try and weave my way through the maze of life.
In my opinion there has been no greater stranger and pilgrim to this world than Jesus. He made it very clear to his first disciples that in order to follow him through this world then they were required to give up everything to follow him. You have to give thought to what ‘ everything’ means to you. I know what it means to me and I am excited about the future that I have left in this life as a “peculiar” people.
So you don’t fit in? Great, join the club.
God really works in some mysterious ways. It’s like He is continually figuring out ways to amaze me in the little obscure things he does.
I have a long time friend who went off the grid for a few years. Out of the blue I get an email from her. It was short and sweet. She tells me that she re-read an email that I had sent her quite some time ago (23 months to be exact) and how much it helped her when she re-read it.
The email I sent her was also attached so I decided to read it and see what was so insightful that my friend had to write me after such a long time.
I was pleasantly surprised. I had not only helped my friend get through a difficult day albeit two years after I originally wrote the advice but it came back to me in a Dear Me sort of way. It was exactly what I needed to hear on the day.
God does work in some wonderful and unusual ways. If we can stay in tune with his still small voice which in this instance comes via a friend sending me, inadvertently I might add, some of my own advice right back at me.
Now how cool is that.
God is always speaking. We just need to learn to listen.
I was twenty-one when I read my first book. The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I loved it. I loved the story, the characters, the violence, the mafia. For the first time in my life I was transported by words into someone else world. Unfortunately it would be quite some time before I read my second novel. As a child I was not encouraged to read. I can not remember my mom and dad reading anything other than a cookbook or daily newspaper.
I failed English I in high school twice because I refused to read the assigned books that were part of the curriculum. I stayed away from school on the days I knew the students would have to stand up and read for the class.
It wasn’t until I became a christian, joined a church and was given a bible that reading became important. King James was the only bible we were encouraged read, right from the horse’s mouth I was told. So being a slow reader to begin with, learning a new language (King James’ ), mixed with dead brain cells from years of drug abuse and you can only imagine how slow a process it was for me. I had to re-read a sentence up to three or four times before the words would register. I was so spaced out I could barely retain any information.
The bible and writings based on the bible and Christianity was all I read. This suited me just fine. Slowly but surely I was able to overcome, with God’s help my reading disabilities. As the years passed I started reading Time and Newsweek Magazines with a dictionary at the ready. I was expanding my vocabulary at a rapid pace.
When I left my church quite many years ago I started to read other books outside the God, Jesus and Christian genre. I particularly loved lawyer court room drama and murder mysteries. There was a whole new world out there I never knew existed and I devoured fictitious novels as though they would be banned at any time. Add christian writings, throw a little self-help in the mix and I had what I believed was a good balance.
Because I didn’t read when I was younger, writing was out of the question also. During a period of time when everything was free hand with a pencil or pen my writing skills were non-existent. Yuk. If you saw my handwriting you would understand why. I couldn’t even read what I had put on paper seconds after I wrote it. It was a no win situation for me.
I engrossed myself in these marvelous, well written novels by great authors. I could only envy such gifted men and women. Wait, envy is too soft a word, I was jealous of their writing abilities. If I entertained these jealous thoughts for too long a time I started to despise these writers. What did they do but write a good book. I wanted to be like them yet I wanted to keep an open mind so I could despise them at the same time.
I’m smiling now as I write this as I look back about eight years ago when I decided to write my own book. The only expertise I had on any subject I felt comfortable writing about was my me, my life. So I set out to write a novel, like the big boys and girls. I wrote every day until I finished a fictional account of my life. Over 300 pages. A first draft on my first attempt. Man, I was empowered by the whole experience. I don’t know where those 300 pages are now.
I found it was easy for me to write first drafts but I had no idea what to do after. I didn’t know anything about editing, re-writing, language structure and all that goes into the process of making a book. I was out of my league. Then I stumbled on blogging. Once I got my head around this new way to write it became my best writing friend. Through blogging I learned the basics. Write, edit, re-write, edit, hit the ABC button, correct spelling, hit the publish button, categorize, tag, read other blogs, like button, comment.
Reading blogs from writers who I knew had the education (Bachelor, Master degrees and PhD’s. Not to mention light years of writing practice under their belt and did I forget to mention that every author mentions the books they published. “I’m a published author you know” I felt like a fish out of water most of the time.
Then there are those who testify that writing has been a passion in their life since they could hold a pen. Carry a notebook or journal at all times, write stories, read them in class. Work for the school paper, learn to edit at ten. There is no doubt the passion that oozes out of these wanna be writers. These people will write until Jesus comes back no matter the outcome. Passion is passion regardless of its success.
I lacked passion for writing. It was quite obvious to me that I didn’t love writing. I kept writing hoping that someday I would fall in love with the craft. Then I would be passionate like the millions of those who make it their calling in life. Without the necessary love and passion needed to write my story how could I ever succeed.
That is why it was so easy for me to stop writing eight months ago. Not even think about writing a single line because I could live without it. Writing was not in my blood. It was not my calling.
The eight months without a word written opened up other opportunities for me. I used the extra time to read, specifically memoirs. Story of people lives, experiences and memories. I taught myself to read outside genres that resonated with my thinking. I read some fantastic books and my eyes were opened to something I never saw before in relation to writing.
One of the things that came to me while reading these memoirs is that many of these authors did not have the background in creative writing nor the passion for writing. Writing was a means to an end. A way to get their story out to the world. A way overcome their past. A way to be open and honest about life, their life. What did these memoir writers have that I didn’t have. They had a love for their own life, their own stories and they would make a way to talk about it. Writing was the way they chose to do it.
Up until this time I thought my life not important enough to talk about. Not exciting enough that others would want to read. Nor honest enough to be able to bear my soul on paper. God has give me, each one of us, for that matter, a very special gift. Life. Every memory, every experience is recorded somewhere in our hearts or mind. My life is special.
Before I was blind but now I see, if not blind then very blurry. My life is becoming my passion, my stories, those hidden treasures of experience and feelings. Those deeply engrained memories that are just bursting to find their way out of the place I have buried them.
It”s about honesty, transparency. Humiliating myself by allowing others to read about my shortcomings, mistakes and the matters of the heart. Like getting undressed in front of a stranger. They see the good, the bad and the ugly.
My blog, Surviving My Son’s Suicide is a testimony to that. It is also a prelude to the bigger picture in my life.
Writing is not my passion. At least not today.
Today, writing is a means to an end.
I read an article a few years ago. A journalist was interviewing a successful author who made his living on writing horror. Many of his books were made into movies, TV Teleplays and TV shows. One of the questions the journalist asked, “why did you choose horror as a genre?” I can envision the author staring right through this journalist as he answered, “who said I had a choice?” He didn’t expound on his answer neither did the journalist ask a follow-up question.
“Who said I had a choice” as though some unseen force was on his shoulder whispering words as his hand worked furiously putting pen to paper trying not to miss a word. Whether his answer was meant to be literal or metaphorical it had quite an effect on me non the less.
A question I have been asked over the course of my christian life. Why did you choose to become a christian. That question confused me but I had my stock answer at the ready. “When I was 22….and I went on like a kookaburra”. This was a gray area for many years. I never gave serious thought to the answer.
Growing up in the Jewish faith I was sheltered from the knowledge of Jesus and Christianity. I had no idea what the the Christmas hype was all about or the billboard signs that read, repent or perish. As I got older the name of Jesus was quite popular in bars and pool halls and I could never figure why this guy Jesus was so popular with some of my girlfriends when they shouted out his name with delight.
I travelled across America from the east coast to the west coast when I 21. Stopping in Los Angeles to visit my sister I felt like I was transported into a strange new world. Charles Manson was on trial for his gruesome murders. Girls walked around in flowing dresses that almost touched the ground. Young people my age wore jeans with patches and rips in them, not the kind that the young people get in shops today. Hippies I believe they were called. To top it off I was walking down the street in short sleeves in January. Not at all like my eastern seaboard upbringing.
Meandering down Hollywood Blvd I could see two lone figures up ahead seemingly engrossed in conversation. As I walked past I heard these words. “Jesus was Jewish”. I thought, Huh, so Jesus was a real person. I continued on without breaking stride.
Some time later as my friends and I were leaving California heading back to New Jersey I was sitting in the back seat watching the sun set over the pacific ocean. I had this peacefulness that came over me. The seed was planted.
Eight months later I was hitching across Canada with my dog Sunfish. A beautiful Shetland Sheepdog that some hippies gave me while camping in the Blue Ridge mountains in New Jersey just a few months prior. She was my best friend and greatest travel companion. No problems getting rides.
Pitching our tent at a free campground I borrowed a bicycle from a fellow camper. Peddling down the country road with Sunfish jogging behind I heard a thud. Jumping off my bike and turning to see where the sound came from I saw Sunfish lying on the ground lifeless. She was hit by a car. My first and only dog was killed. I carried her back to the campgrounds and buried her in the woods. That would become the saddest day in my life.
Numb from my loss I packed up my belongings and headed towards the highway. I took a ride as far as the driver could take me. Dropping me off virtually in the middle of nowhere I walked aimlessly and took the first dirt path that lead off the highway. Open fields on both sides with cattle or sheep far in the distance grazing on the lush flat land. Up ahead a loan oak tree standing with its heavy branching almost touching the ground. Beyond the tree was nothing as far as the eye could see until rolling hills met with the skyline.
Dropping my pack at the base of the tree I slumped to the ground my back leaning up against the oaks trunk. My mind dull with the thoughts of not having my new best friend by my side. The last thing I remember was tears sliding down the sides of my face as I fell asleep.
Waking the next morning the sun breaking through the boughs of the old oak I realized I hadn’t moved my position. Something was noticeably different. The sadness was gone, replaced by a sensation I had never experienced before in my 22 years of living. I was overwhelmed with the an unmistakable feeling of happiness. I recognized this feeling as love and it was so overwhelming I thought I would explode.
Grabbing my pack, with a smile that was starting to hurt, I hurried down the path to the highway to catch a ride to God knows where. All I understood at the time that I had this great feeling of joy, happiness and love that I somehow had to share it with others. To this day I cannot explain what happened to me during that night as I slept under that oak tree. What I do know is this, it changed my life forever and I knew right away it was Jesus.
Much later I learned that my experience was a phenomenon known as being born again.
Now if I am asked why I chose Jesus being a Jew I can say with complete confidence, “who said I had a choice”.
In retrospect, my late forties was when it all started. I didn’t know it was a midlife crisis. I thought more along the lines that I had lost my way, I had wandered off the path that God was leading me on but somehow got lost.
I spent so much time trying to get back to the path , it felt like I was stuck in quick sand. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the way I was seeing things.
When I was twenty two I had an experience that changed my life in a big way. I later learned that it was what Christians call being born again. God took over my being, everything was God this, God that, Jesus loves you, Jesus loves me, man Jesus even loves my 8th grade teacher who gave me a failing grade.
I was so full of this new phenomenon in my life I even tried to convert my ever-loving and understanding Jewish parents. Not only did I deliver the “you will never make it into heaven unless you repent and give your life over to Jesus” followed by “you need to give up everything to follow Jesus, like the early disciples did”. But that is a story for another time.
I was on fire for God, my faith grew in leaps and bounds, I went from being a babe in Christ to trying to take over the world for God single-handed. I learned to witness, preach the gospel, read my bible, pray, spout bible verses, be a missionary in foreign lands, teach others to teach others. Got married, had kids, cloned my children in the way. I was a man on a mission. In my own eyes I was the perfect child of God.
Gradually without warning my self-made persona started to crack. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong and I felt hopeless and helpless to do anything about it. God surely abandoned me in my time of need.
From going from believing that God spoke to me at every turn, his presence ever so immediate, feeling so special that nothing could touch me. His voice became less obvious. His presence hidden from my daily life.
I felt like I was doing something wrong, surely God was mad at me to hide himself from me. I was taking this all too personally. I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees.
Most recently I have been encouraged by one of our most revered bible characters; Moses.
Here was a man who was not only spared from death as a child but because of the foresight of his parents he not only lived but was raised in the house of the ruler of the most powerful country at the time.
The bible doesn’t really say but using our imagination Moses must have had the world at his feet. A prince being prepped for great things in his adopted fathers kingdom. He was probably full of himself too.
Driving through the cities in his fancy chariots, attending all the best parties, strutting through the streets flexing his muscles feeling the top of the world as the peons bow as he passed.
Then in one moment of insanity that all comes to an abrupt end when he kills a fellow Egyptian as they were picking on one of Jewish slaves. You know the story. He had to flee and wound up in the middle of nowhere tending cattle for a man who took him in and gave him one of his daughters to marry. A new unexpected life.
Around the age of forty Moses virtually lost everything he had lived for, Driven away you may rightly point out by his own stupid impulsive bad temper or sense of justice.
So our dear Moses spends the next forty years in virtual exile. Talk about a midlife crisis.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall or tent and take in all that Moses suffered and learned during that time. From a brash “I can do anything I please” upstart to a man so broken that when God said “OK buddy, I think your ready, your people are ready, all the pieces are in place, its time for you to do what you were born to do”, he virtually begged God to pick someone else.
The bible doesn’t say much about what Moses went through inside but now I can sort of relate and understand to some degree of what it takes to become ready for the call.
Perhaps it took Moses forty years because he was so resistant to change or there was so much to strip away of his old life. Either way God is patient as He waits for us to shed the past and prepares our hearts for the future.
The last twenty years of my life has built up to being one hell-of-a midlife crisis. For the most part I hadn’t understood God’s plan.
To be honest I still don’t. But God is giving me some semblance of understanding that He is in control. If it takes one year or forty years, God is will wait till we are ready for whatever it is He needs us for.
Now I believe I have turned a corner. I understand now that God has not been angry with me but has used the situation that I had gotten my self into so as to make me a better man by stripping me of myself.
God may not be prepping me for a higher calling in this world, or a greater mission with more meaning than what I am doing now but I do know that God doesn’t make mistakes and he doesn’t waste the life that he gives us as long as we see Him in everything that comes our way.
Have you felt that God has abandoned you? Do you feel its going on far too long? Are you at the point of giving up? Do you say “I can’t can’t take this any more” more often than you should?
Then yes, welcome to the club, you are going through a midlife crisis: God’s way.
Growing up I loved spy movies. I especially liked the ones where the Russians would send undercover agents to America to blend in with American society and wait until they are called on to spy or do some sort of dirty deeds for their mother country. Sometimes they would send single men or women to marry an American, or even couples to blend in, raise a family, become an indispensable member of the community etc.
Sometimes you could get half way through the movie until you realized that this couple or individual who you grew to like and see as the protagonist turns out to be a “traitor”.
But how did these spies stay on track as they infiltrated society and blended in so they would seem, at least outwardly that they were just like any garden variety suburbanite.
Enter the handler. There is always a handler. Another Russian spy, usually working for the Russian embassy or consulate and always has diplomatic immunity.
His job is to make sure the fake Americans stay on track, keep the motherland first and foremost in their minds and to be prepared for the day they will be called on to “spy”. Or perhaps they have already been spying and passing on information to the handler. His job is to make sure that his charges don’t get sucked into society, don’t get too comfortable. Or worse get turned and become a red white and blue American. The handler is essential to the success of the mission. The mission is to do what they are asked to do and the end result is to return to the motherland in one piece.
Being a true believer, a christian in this world is not much different. If you are truly born again, then you know how different you are to the world we live in. We should never feel as though we fit in. We should always understand that our time here on this earth is temporary. We were sent to do a job, a special mission for each of us. Though many of us may not know what that mission is until later in life, we spend our time fitting into society waiting for the call, knowing it will come.
So we pass our time trying our best to be one with our surroundings, we get secular jobs, we join churches, we go to schools and learn the ways of the world, we fit in. But we understand that this world is not our real home. We know that we are just passing through and we were sent to to fulfill a purpose.
With temptation all round us it is imperative to not allow ourselves to get sucked in. The world calls us to give in and become one, not just outwardly but inwardly too. Oh, how difficult it is at times to remain seperate in our hearts to the ways of the world knowing it is our duty to live in a world that is not ours. We can’t do this on our own.
Enter the handler.
Jesus. The perfect man for the job.
He knows us, he loves us, he understands us but most importantly he trusts us. He knows he can depend on us when the time comes. He looks past our frailties and our human weaknesses. He handles us like a pro because he has been here before. He keeps us on track, always reminding us of the bigger picture. He continues to remind us that this world is not our home, we are just passing through. He too is essential to the success of our mission.
When our mission is complete he will then say to us, great job guys, you did good, you can come home to the Mother Land. Heaven.
We press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God… Ph 3:14 The christian world, those who strive to find God’s calling in their lives continue to press forward each day, hoping they will someday find that elusive calling or purpose in their lives that God promised.
Perhaps it’s God’s way of keeping us struggling forward knowing that he has to dangle the bait in front of us to keep moving, never stagnating, never being completely satisfied with this life on earth.
Content? Yes. Satisfied? Never
We have a wise God.
How much do we really know about heaven. There are many accounts of those who say they have been or have had contact with those that have already gone before us. There are thousands of near death experiences of those who left this world for a short time say they went to heaven but had to return because it wasn’t their time for one reason or another. During their brief stay they have tried to put into words what they experienced.
Then there are those who have had dreams about heaven not to mention the multitude of psychics who proclaim their gifts of being able to contact those that have left this world.
There are many movies on heaven with the help of creative minds that has probably given me the most food for thought when it comes to life after death.
Then of course there is the bible. Heaven is mentioned close to six hundred times giving pastors, preachers and teachers of the Good Book thousands of sermons or classes on the subject over time.
I am not a theologian, a psychic nor have I had a near death experience. I have not had any dreams or visions about heaven nor do I see myself understanding completely what the bible teaches about God’s heavenly kingdom.
My thoughts on heaven have come from all the above and I must say I have not drawn any satisfying conclusion to what I believe heaven will be like at least from an earthly physical standpoint.
I have been thinking about heaven on a more consistent basis the last few years for a variety of reasons, one being that I am beginning to feel the finish line is not that far away. It’s probably the only thing we can count on in this life, is that we will die and that something has to happen to us after we die.
Paul stated himself, “if in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable” I Cor 15:19 In other words if we live only for this world and in our service to God only for the benefits that this world has to offer then it will be a un-fulfilling adventure in itself.
When Jesus taught his disciples how we should pray in that infamous sermon on the mount in the book of Matthew, the words, “thy (God’s) will be done in earth as it is in heaven”, a prayer I had read hundreds of times and must have said a thousand times without understanding its relevance.
Maybe heaven is not that far away. Aside from the miraculous spiritual aspect of God giving us a new life physically and a new life born again spiritually then maybe he also wants us to understand the connection between the two.
I have come to believe that in each one of our lives, young or old we are having experiences that gives us a glimpse into what heaven is like. I started thinking of some of the memorable experiences that I have had that could very well be a link between both worlds.
Experiencing the birth of my children has to be way up there.
Holding that child for the first time, sitting on the bed next to my wife with that baby in my arms, his/her eyes still closed but the warmth of our bodies connecting the feeling is actually indescribable. Handing the baby back to its mother and realizing that we have done something special in bringing a new life into the world watching the baby take its first suck of the breast had to be one of the most rewarding times in my life. In retrospect it was far greater than that. God was giving me a glimpse of his will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
When I blurted out, ‘look at what we created’, I now know my wife was gracious in her allowing me to accept some of the credit. My part in that creation was rather small, literally and metaphorically speaking. I can almost see God at each birth looking down on me with a wry smile and his arms folded across his chest, a big sigh and a shake of his head. But he let me think I was king of the mountain even if for only a moment knowing that the baby’s first night home will change my tune.
That is only one little experience in my 67 years on this earth. When I first started writing this post over a week ago I couldn’t get any traction. I finally got the point, this is not about me. This not about how many experiences I have had that could connect heaven and earth. This is about all of us having these earthly experiences that connect us or act as a conduit between heaven and earth that allows God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I saw a movie recently that the police or security agencies had this software that could take hundreds of partial images from various cameras placed around a city or country. These images were then put up on a large screen in no specific order. Together they looked like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle all jumbled up. None of the pieces were clear enough or gave enough information to give a clear picture of who they were looking for. When they put all these pieces into the program, wallah, they were all pieced together to form one solitary picture of their suspect.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could do the same. Take our seemingly insignificant mortal experiences that relate to our connection to heaven and program it to show us a fuller picture.
Individually our experiences along these lines are like a drop in the ocean but together we could probably come up with a fairly good overall picture of what heaven is like through our early experiences. But until then we may need to be sufficiently satisfied with the few that we have individually.
I believe I have had enough of these links to satisfy my curiosity that God will is being done on earth as it is in heaven.
Now I am starting to see my life on earth in a different perspective. Heaven comes to earth everyday. We just need to keep our eyes and ears open to see and experience it.
Have you had a glimpse of heaven?